Thursday, 29 May 2014

In Honour of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, Famed Poet and Author, Dead at 86

In honour of Angelou's death, let's celebrate her life and remember her inspiration and wisdom. 

We are told King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. Wisdom's price is far above rubies. The book of Proverbs tells us that wisdom builds her house, that wisdom is the principal thing and we are encouraged that in all our getting, seeking and aspiring to get and to seek after wisdom. 

Maya Angelou who left us this Wednesday, having fulfilled her life's work, and may we all do the same, shared her wisdom with us all. 

Using the art of communication she made an indelible impact on the world. A philanthropist, humanitarian, educator,  author, playwright, teacher, civil rights activist, speaker, actress and filmmaker —she was a woman who used every means and method to get her story and message across.

In a world overflowing with information, Maya Angelou always drew us in with her masterful story-telling. Now we all know why the caged bird sings.

I remember going to see her perform here in London in 2007 and being so uplifted by her speech, her aura, her spirit and her compassion. Compassion for humanity. She was not only a great and inspiring poet but her generosity of heart really came forth. There are many gifted people whose abilities have promoted them but whose characters do not have the power to move you. To move you to be bigger. To be better. To love more. To give more. Maya did all that. 

Like Maya, I share a love of reading and as a small child I was never happier than when I was locked away in a different world from everyone else, created by the author.  I also loved to write as a child. In fact my mother recently told me that in one of my early school reports my teacher wrote that "Patricia shows all the signs of being a writer." I've since learned that our abilities and talents are signs of our callings, vocation and life purpose.  We often demonstrate these abilities in childhood when all we know to be is ourselves. 

Listening to Maya reading her poetry that night, as well as reading her books for myself and learning of her life story, I am encouraged to be me. And only me. Never a poor imitation of someone else. My gifts are mine to use. 

The wonderful thing is this, the more we use our gifts, the better we get, and we actually receive more besides. It's like our Creator sees we have faithfully used the gift He entrusted to us and gifts us with even more. Maya says it in her way "You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have."

As amazing as Maya Angelou's legacy is we should know that she had no particular advantage over any of us. In fact, during her 86 years she had to rise above sexual abuse, poverty and prostitution to become the person we knew. Yet, she came here for the same reason we all did, to make a lasting impact, to make a mark, to affect other people's lives for the better, to be an instrument of compassion and peace and to use every means available and every personal gift, talent and resource to do so. 

We can all be encouraged that despite the challenges, difficulties and obstacles life throws in our path, we can rise. 

So never mind the nay-sayers, the well-intentioned, the fault-finders or the dream-stealers, go out and take hold of life with both hands. Anything else isn't playing full out. 

Through it all, still we rise. 

Thank you Maya Angelou. I'm encouraged. 

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach
Love & Relationship Coach
Radio Talk Show Host
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_Patricia
iTunes: Real Love Show

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Be More Confident

Here's How to be More Confident.

Stop These Behaviours

1. Binning the positives

Do you tend to overlook the compliments people give you?
Do you refuse to accept and ignore if someone says “That was a great job, well done” or “You look fantastic today”?
How do you usually reply to praise?
“Oh, it was nothing, it was easy” or “I don't look great really, you’re just saying that.”
Do you realize that you’ve just discounted the fact that you worked really hard to get that job done or that you take time over your appearance to get it right?
Let’s set this record straight. A simple “Thank you” with a smile is the perfect response.
Think it over. Is it that much of an effort?
You would give credit to someone who does a great job. Make sure you accept the credit when you do a great job or when you receive a compliment.
2. And they all lived happily ever after

Perfection is an illusion.
Oh yes it is. No point arguing here.
So if you are a person who has to have everything perfect in your life, it’s going to be pretty tough, buddy! You are setting yourself up for disappointments.
Do you have thoughts like:
 “That shouldn't happen to me.”
 “I can't believe that has happened.”
 “That's unfair.”
Stop looking for that perfect world. Everyone has things happen to him or her, good and bad. You are not a special case and no one is exempt.
Instead accept that bad times fall on all and ask yourself “What could I do to improve this situation now?”
3. Blaming other people and events

Do you blame others and don’t accept responsibility for outcomes that are different from your expectations?
Do you say:
 “If only my parents had been more ambitious I'd have had more success by now.”
 “If only I didn't have to impress all of the time.”
 “He make's me feel so bad.”
 “She had a hold over me which means I can't do anything.”
While this attitude is awful, it will also make you feel like a ‘victim’. Forever you will move ahead with a sense of helplessness; that you are capable of nothing.
It isn’t your fault. Is it?
Agreed, the event has had an effect on you but at the end of the day only you have the responsibility to let it affect you.
So, how do you turn these thoughts around?
Well, for starters, focus on the reality.
If you feel something is unfair or unjust, accept that it is.
Then accept that the impact it has on you is your responsibility.
Don't make excuses; it is your responsibility!
4.  It's all or nothing!

There’s more than just black and white. There are several colors in between, right? Like blue, green, red, yellow, pink, brown, purple, mauve…phew!
Then why are most aspects of life just black or white? Are you one of those who think “It’s all or nothing”?
Is there no grey area in between?!
 “I am either a success or a failure.”
 “If I get first place, I am a winner. If I get second place, I am a loser”, irrespective if there are 20,000 runners!
 “If I don't get things 100% perfect I am a flop.”
 “If I don't get an A Grade in Math, I am a failure.”
Well, in life there are rarely successes and failures. In fact, success is a journey, not a destination.
Success and failure are not meant to be measured on a 100 or 0 scale. At the end of the day if you don’t perform to your highest standards, it certainly doesn’t mean you scored a zero!
Your “It’s all or nothing” thought is only setting you up for failures.
How many times do you perform with absolute perfection?
Less than 10% of the time!
So, does that mean you are a failure 90% of the time?
Now you know that’s utter nonsense.
Why do you always have to be perfect?

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach
Love & Relationship Coach
Radio Talk Show Host
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_Patricia
iTunes: Real Love Show

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

21 Ways to Ensure 2014 is Your Best Year Yet!

1. Take your health seriously. That might mean walking more. Eating less fat and sugar. It might mean drinking more water. It might mean cutting back on alcohol. It might mean learning to relax, taking time out for self to de-stress. Without this one being in place the rest are not assured. Your health and well being must be valued. Love you! 

2. Clear your space. Clear your environment. Clear your workspace. Clear your home. Create a sense of flow, freedom and ease in your surroundings. Do what it takes to get that done. If necessary hire a cleaner, hire a gardener, hire an interior designer. Let life work for you. Set things up so you win.   

3. Start saying no confidently. No is a great word. That word makes sure you do not over commit. It ensures you don't play a victim's role in life. It gives you power and control. It's your life. You choose. You decide. 

4. Don't be afraid to say yes. Yes to your dreams. Yes to your ideas. Yes to your talents. If you don't decide to do you, then who will? It really is now or never. Your life isn't a practice run. This is it!

5. Now you've said yes to yourself you're going to need a brand new image. Yes, image, everyone needs one and very often we need several over time. Life isn't just the survival of the fittest but the survival of the re-invented. The best global brands keep it fresh, new and current even when it's basically the same product but with a few new bells and whistles. Think Game Change. 

6. Do you need to change up your associations. The people you fraternise with. The people you work with on projects. Perhaps you need a new energy. A new creative mix. Keep it moving......

7. Break the worry habit. Take your thought life in hand. No more letting your imagination run riot with every possible terrible thing that could happen. Take control by dealing with those things you've procrastinated over, do what's in your power and then let it go. 

8. Get a money plan in place. If you have debt speak to a debt adviser, if you regularly over spend ask yourself why you do this. What hole are you trying to fill? If there is a vacuum in your life overspending on luxuries or indulgences will not address the problem. 

9. Still unclear on your life purpose? Are you feeling stuck despite earning well, despite having a high status job, if so, it's time to dig. The truest way to find your purpose is to find what you were made for. To find that thing you do so naturally and easily that you think "anyone could do it".  What do people constantly praise or admire you for? What gift, talent, ability did your primary school teachers note about you? What do you do that gives you pleasure like nothing else. Find this and you've found your vocation. You were created with purpose and designed to accomplish that purpose. Whatever it is, don't be afraid of it. Walk into it. Walk into the light. Your light. Let it shine. Don't hide it under a bush. Don't apologise for your greatness. Be bold in what you do. It's the only way to be. 

10. Finally decide to forgive everyone. Everyone who disappointed you.  Who let you down. Who hurt you. Who rejected you. Don't be a victim of their behaviour. Take control by forgiving them. Release them from your heart. Release yourself from the pain. Let it go and live your life. Free. Work with a coach or counsellor or other professional if necessary. 

11. Respect your feelings.  Anger has its place. Don't say it's okay when it isn't. If someone disrespects you or is rude to you then you don't have to laugh it off. You can call them on it.  You don't need to be rude but you can state firmly that their behaviour is unacceptable and you deserve better. Turning the other cheek does not mean being a doormat. You were not created so people could walk all over you. 

12. Remember that classic song "don't go changing to try and please me.........I love you just the way you are." Well, Its time for you to stop trying to change the ones you love. Would you like it if they kept trying to change you? Exactly. 

13. Laugh more. Laughter is medicine for the soul. It lifts sadness, gives you energy and makes life enjoyable. So no more gentle, restrained or polite laughter please. Go Hard. Rolled up, on the floor, doubled over, side splitting, belly aching LAUGHTER. 

14. Practice counting your blessings at the end of each day or even at the end of each week. You will find yourself surprised at just how blessed you really are.  Name them one by one. Perhaps start a journal. 

15. Get real with your spirituality. If you've lived your life up till now unconcerned with the deeper things of life; now is a good time to think about such things. Why wait until your death bed to recognise you are more than flesh and blood and that the real you is a spirit being. We are spirit beings having a human experience. Getting connected to your creator is the most life affirming and actualising thing you can do. Number 7 on Maslow's hierarchy of human need is self-actualisation: to find self-fulfilment and realise one's potential. Number 8 is self-transcendence: to connect to something beyond the ego or to help others find self-fulfilment and realise their potential. To go beyond self satisfaction and to make your contribution to the world. That contribution is why your creator designed you. 

16. What would you do if you didn't have fear?  When you've answered that, ask yourself if what you fear is actually real? So will you feel the fear and do it anyway?

17. Is there an individual real or imaginary, such as a tv or book character, that you do not like? Ask yourself why you don't like them. Do you think you have any similarities? If so, what have you just learned about yourself. 

18. Forgive yourself. It's okay to make mistakes. Did you know that no one is perfect. No one gets everything right all of the time. You are okay. 

19. It's time to fall in love with love. Time to fall in love with life. Decide to have a glorious love affair with the one you love. Make it extra fun and don't tell them. Just let your actions speak for you. Romance him/her. Compliment them every time you meet. Tell her she is the prettiest girl in the world. Send her a love letter. Tell him he's your hero. Buy her Belgian chocolate. Buy his favourite beers and put them on ice. Let him watch the game with his friends! Take her dancing and hold her close. Go on picnics, day trips, watch the sunset together. Get some more ideas flowing and nice up your love life. 

20. Challenge yourself to learn something new. A new language. A new skill. Take an evening course. Learn to salsa. Learn how to bake. Learn how to draw. Learn how to write poetry. Learn an instrument. Whatever takes your fancy, give it a go. 

21. Create a travel plan. Nothing expands the mind like travelling: meeting new people, observing other cultures, experiencing different approaches to life, start now. Make sure you keep a travel journal or diary in which to record your adventures. Life can be an adventure. In fact, life is what you make it. 

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach
Love & Relationship Coach
Radio Talk Show Host
iTunes: Real Love Show
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_Patricia

Friday, 16 May 2014

Want to be more Confident? Avoid these common mistakes

1. Believe what you feel.

Feelings are not facts. If you believe your feelings blindly, just too bad, my friend. Mend your ways or you are sure to suffer a confidence setback.
The quality of your life is based upon the quality of your feelings.
Feelings are only thoughts that we have decided to generate. That doesn’t make them real.
You give meaning to your thoughts; and hence your feelings.
So, are you the type of person who believes all the feelings you have?
 “I feel bad. Therefore, I must be bad.”
 “I feel like a loser. Therefore, I must be a loser.”
 “I feel ugly. Therefore, I must be ugly.”
Low levels of confidence can distort your thoughts. So you really need to question your feelings before you believe them.
Ask yourself questions like:
 “What would someone who is a 100% loser, is bad or ugly be like?”
 “Am I really like that?”
Challenge your feelings by questioning them.
2. Personalize Everything. 

Personalizing is when you blame yourself.
Personalizing happens when you say:
 “It’s entirely my fault that my son didn’t get the chances in life.”
 “If I wasn’t so clingy, men would stay with me.”
 “It’s all my fault that we got divorced.”
Blaming yourself for other people's actions and decisions means you are taking too many responsibilities on your shoulders.
Simply because you are not accountable for someone else’s decision-making.
Remember that you are not the only one giving advice or offering opinions. An individual meets numerous people and hence gets a number of opinions. But in the end he or she has the freedom to decide what he or she wants to do.
Agreed mistakes do happen and some of them could be the result of your action or decision. But all of them?! You don’t believe that, do you?
Your confidence is suffering a blow every time you hold yourself liable for someone else’s life turning out to be miserable.
Take the reigns of your life into your hands. Don’t blame yourself and don’t let others do it unjustly.  
3. Making comparisons with others.

Do you always compare yourself to others?
If you do, it’s high time you stop.
Why are you putting yourself through so much of worthless competition? Frankly, it isn’t even healthy competition.
What you are doing through such a comparison is magnify your ‘weaknesses’ and others’ ‘strengths’ or shrink others’ ‘weaknesses’ and your ‘strengths’.
So, are you saying something like this?
 “I haven't got a chance for this job, after all who is going to want to hire a single Mum? Maria is young, single and she has got a degree.”
 “I am hopeless at spelling and math, Mark is great at these, he can do them standing on his head.”
 “No-one will want to go out with me, I've got a big nose. Look at Donna. She is beautiful, has lovely hair and really nice skin.”
Challenge these thoughts!
Appreciate that you are a unique person and stop these distortions.

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach
Love & Relationship Coach
Radio Talk Show Host
Writer and Speaker
Facebook: Ask Patricia
Twitter: Ask_ Patricia 
iTunes Real Love Show

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


As you may have heard in the news, and various social media, nearly three hundred Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and possibly trafficked into the sex trade or forced into marriages. 

The hunt is on to find these girls and bring them back to their families.  This sex trafficking problem is not just a problem in Nigeria but other countries across the world. 

This week's Real Love Show focused on this story and in particular looked at why there was a market for these girls. There is the political agenda behind the kidnapping but it still remains that child marriage and/or forced marriages are nothing new. 

We learnt that child betrothal goes back to the inception of Nigeria. It seems a young girl can be promised to a man of many years her senior and that this allows the girl's family to go to this man for material help or assistance from then on. It is almost an exchange. The girl has no choice in the matter. It would seem the mother would have no say either. Apparently this practice is mostly due to abject poverty, mostly in Northern Nigeria. 

There is so much to this issue and we intend to look at child marriages more indepth on a future show. 

I feel there is a great need for campaigning for women's rights because this is a very dehumanizing way for a woman to live. Do they dare to hope? Do they dare to dream? On 14 February we celebrated One Billion Rising to support the mission against violence towards women. We need this and more. 

On the Show I spoke with Tatiana Giraud of the TG foundation which works to help bring restoration to women and girls who have endured extremely brutal sexual violence in the Congo. I believe this organisation and others like it must be supported to ensure that these women and girls can have a chance to live a normal and fulfilling life, with hope for a brighter future. 

In the meantime it is a good thing the eyes of the world are focused right now on Nigeria and these kidnapped schoolgirls. We hope and pray that they will be returned safely to their families. 

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Dilemma Show

The Dilemma Show

On this show we answer dilemmas including: a woman who fears menopause is adversely affecting her sex life as it is no longer enjoyable; a 42 woman who says the only men who show interest in her are always married; a young man who is dating a young single mother who he thinks still likes her ex, a man whose wife divorced him for his adultery wants to start dating again and is unsure if he is ready; an older sister who is bad mouthing her other sisters and critizing their husbands and their families; plus a woman who at 55 still feels abandoned by her mother who allowed her to grow up with her grandmother when she left the country to seek a better life, even though she later brought her to live with her. Dr Ryeal Simms is our guest coach. Music from Deitrick Haddon and Tamar Braxton .

Take a listen and share with a friend.

Patricia Benjamin

Life Coach & Relationship Coach

Radio Talk Show Host

Facebook: Ask Patricia

Twitter: Ask_Patricia